It was another wild day of baseball, to say the least. Has John Axford finally reached the end of the line as the Brewers closer? Has Justin Upton and Adrian Gonzalez finally shown signs of waking up? How did Carl Crawford fare in his return? Let’s answer these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- John Axford – Milwaukee Brewers – Relief Pitcher – Has the time finally come for Axford to be removed from closing duties? He blew his sixth save of the season last night, allowing 3 ER on 3 H and 2 BB over 0.2 IP. He’s now allowed runs in 3 of his past 5 outings. He’s also been giving up hits in droves, with 8 H allowed in his past 3.2 IP. I would think a short-term demotion could be in order, but Francisco Rodriguez is not the answer (and could be traded) long-term. Axford will return to the role before long, so don’t do anything drastic.
- Zach McAllister – Cleveland Indians – Starting Pitcher – has allowed 3 ER or less in in 6 straight starts and 7 of his 8 since joining the Indians rotation on May 7. Taking on the Rays yesterday he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 innings. He has actually had poor luck in the process, with a 63.2% strand rate and .301 BABIP. However, before we get too excited, I don’t really but his 8.57 K/9 (minor league career is 7.15) and he has actually been hit hard (23.4% line drive rate). Time will tell, but he may be a pitcher to sell high on. We’ll look at him in more detail soon.
More Quick Thoughts:
- The Diamondbacks shifted the slumping Justin Upton down to fifth in the order (only the second game all season he hasn’t batter third, with 3 AB hitting second earlier in the year). The shift definitely appeared to ignite him, as he went 3-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R. It may not be much, but it easily can be the start of things to come. I’ve recommended him as a second half buy candidate, and I’m not about to change that thought now.
- Carl Crawford returned to the Red Sox lineup, going 1-3 with 2 R while hitting second in the order. With him and Jacoby Ellsbury (0-4) finally back at the top maybe the Red Sox offense can finally get on track.
- It’s nice to see Adrian Gonzalez produce, isn’t it? He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R. It was his first HR since June 24 and first multi-RBI game since June 27. We all know he has a hot streak in him, so hopefully you didn’t give up hope and sell low.
- Ervin Santana had another subpar outing, though it wasn’t awful by any stretch. He allowed 4 R (2 earned) on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 innings against a Tigers team that has been hot. He has been awful this season, but the majority of the numbers aren’t far off from what he’s done in the past. The key is keeping the ball in the ballpark, as he entered the day with a 1.74 HR/9. He didn’t allow a long ball yesterday and, if he can continue to do that, the numbers should improve. I know it’s hard, but I wouldn’t give up hope.
- Things continue to pick up for Adam Lind, who went 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday. He’s now hit 5 HR with 15 RBI since June 29 as he has resumed regular DH duties and his spot in the middle of the Blue Jays’ lineup.
- Miami continued its committee approach to closing games, this time giving Mike Dunn a chance. He converted the save, though he allowed 1 H and 1 BB, to go along with 1 K, in his inning of work. Steve Cishek, who remains the favorite to get saves until Heath Bell returns to the role, was likely unavailable due to a 5 out save a few days ago. That said, this is a situation that is complicated and, unless you are desperate for saves, just stick with Heath Bell on your bench and wait for him to return to closing duties.
- The Twins pummeled the Orioles for 19 runs, so there obviously was a bevy of useful bats in their lineup. Leading the way were Denard Span (3-5, 5 RBI, 2 R), Ben Revere (4-6, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB) and Joe Mauer (2-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R). Not to be lost in the onslaught was Matt Capps coming in and allowing 2 ER on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over an inning of work. That’s not the type of performance that is going to get him back closing games and, at least for now, Glen Perkins remains the relief pitcher that should be owned.
- Dustin Ackley went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 3 R. While he has been a disappointment, he does have 50 R scored on the season (despite hitting just .233). That does bring a little bit of promise and we know he has the potential to go 10/10 or 12/12 (he has 6 HR and 8 SB). We’ll take a closer look at him, but I wouldn’t give up hope and completely cut bait.
- Alex Presley returned to the Pirates lineup and was slide right into the leadoff spot. He went 1-4 and, for those in deeper formats, has the potential to brings under-the-radar power and speed. He’s worth stashing if you need an outfielder as he should play regularly with Jose Tabata in the minor leagues.
- Suprising start from J.A. Happ, who tossed 6.1 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 4. Considering he’s allowed 7+ ER twice in his last six starts, I wouldn’t get too excited over a start against the Padres. He has a 4.83 ERA this season and 4.16 for his career. Move on.
- Ryan Howard went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, his first home run of the season. He’s hitting just .150 and, while he is going to hit better than that, is really more of a power only threat for fantasy owners at this point. Just keep that in mind.